Saudi Princes Among Dozens Arrested In Apparent Move To Boost King's Son

Posted November 06, 2017

News of the crash comes as Saudi Arabia pursues a sweeping purge of the kingdom´s upper ranks, with dozens of princes, ministers and a billionaire tycoon arrested as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cements his hold on power.

The king named Crown Prince Mohammed the minister of defence in 2015. In addition, Economy Minister Adel Fakieh was unseated by his subordinate, Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, the wire service says, according to state-run media.

The Times adds that Prince Alwaleed has made recent appearances in Western news, to weigh in on topics like cryptocurrencies and to discuss Saudi Arabia's plans to offer public shares of its lucrative oil company, Aramco.

Bloomberg quoted a senior Saudi official as saying that 11 princes and 38 current or former senior officials were arrested.

Prince Alwaleed, one of the country's highest profile businessmen, was one of several princes, ministers, and former ministers detained as part of an anti-corruption crackdown, two senior Saudi officials told Reuters on Sunday.

Other names listed were of businessmen, including Bakr bin Laden, chairman of Saudi Binladin Group, Alwaleed Al Ibrahim, owner of television network MBC, and Khalid Al Mulheim, former director general at Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Kingdom Holding did not respond to requests for comment from The National.

Prince Alwaleed controls Kingdom Holding and is one of the world's richest men. The royal decree said the committee was needed "due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds" and will "trace and combat corruption at all levels", the statement said.

Al-Arabiya said that the anti-corruption committee had the right to investigate, arrest, ban from travel or freeze the assets of anyone it deemed corrupt.

In addition to locking down bank accounts, the Saudi government said it will seize any property linked to corruption charges.

The crash comes after Saudi Arabia on Saturday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile near Riyadh's worldwide airport after it was sacked from Yemen, in an escalation of the kingdom's war against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.